“Produced With Love from Our Home to Yours”
If you have never had a farm-fresh egg laid by a happy hen who was able to enjoy the sunshine, clean air, fresh green grass, and all the insects and worms she could find, you have never had a real egg. All eggs are not created equal. A conventional or organic “factory farm” egg does not have the flavor of a pastured egg.
Our hens are housed in small flocks of around 500-600 hens in a shelter located on about 2 acres of fresh green grass. The 2 acres is divided into four 1/2 acre paddocks. When the grass starts getting eaten down in a paddock, the hens are given a fresh paddock to graze in. That allows the paddock that they were just in to rest and re-grow before the hens return to it again.
Misleading factory farm egg terms that lead you to think that the hens are happy hens on pasture:
“Free-range” — The term means that sometimes the chickens have access to the out of doors. It can be a dirt lot at the end of a large organic confinement chicken house.
“Free-roaming” — The term means that the chickens are housed on the floor of a large confinement chicken house instead of in small wire cages. They most likely do not have access to the out of doors.
“Cage-free” — The term is basically the same as “free-roaming”.
Certified Organic by PCO
Protection from Weather and Predators
There is a “Winter Garden” attached to each of our hen shelters. It is a place where we can confine the hens when the pasture is too wet, there is snow on the ground, or the pasture conditions do not permit the hens to be on the pasture that day. It is an important management tool to keep the pastures from being destroyed. By covering the “Winter Garden” with greenhouse plastic, the hens enjoy sunshine and the heat of the greenhouse on those cold winter days in January and February. In the Spring the plastic on the sides is rolled up and the roof covered with white plastic giving them a large open air pavilion. Hens, like us, do not like the hot sun in the middle of a summer day. It provides more shade for them to lounge around in while they wait for the cool of evening to come so they can range the pastures before bedtime.
The hens enjoy dust bathing, scratching and just being in the Winter Gardens.
At night the hens are closed up in their shelters to protect them from night critters. An electric fence protects them during the day from foxes and other ground based predators. Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows help protect the hens during the warmer months from hawks. We also use screaming bottle rockets to “speak hawk” and tell them that we a bigger hawk than they are and this is our territory. It is simple and has been very effective.
The hens are fed an organic feed that we grind and mix here on the farm twice a week so that is fresh and retains most of the nutrients.
The feed contains:
Corn, Roasted soybeans, soybean meal, alfalfa, and a mix of vitamins and minerals. The hens also receive wheat as a scratch feed.
Soybeans are one of the best protein sources for chickens. Some have expressed concern about the affects of soybeans in the chicken diet, but we have not been able to find any research on the subject. If you find any, please let us know. The chickens use the energy from the soybeans to produce an egg. As such, soybeans are not an ingredient in the egg, but an energy source to produce the egg. People with food allergies may or may not be affected by eating our eggs. Soybeans compromise less than 25% of our hens’ diet.